The Winter's Tale

Paulina Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
A Sicilian noblewoman and the wife of Antigonus, Paulina is strong-willed and stands up for Hermione when Leontes accuses her of being unfaithful. She speaks her mind to Leontes, and brings him the infant Perdita in the hopes that the sight of his newborn child might soften his resolve to punish Hermione for the crime he imagines she has committed. After Leontes realizes that Hermione was innocent, Paulina never lets him forget his folly, and is never satisfied that Leontes has repented enough for causing Hermione’s death. At the very end of the play, she is the one character who seems not to have found a happy ending, as she laments the death of her husband Antigonus. However, Leontes encourages her to find her own happy ending by marrying Camillo.

Paulina Quotes in The Winter's Tale

The The Winter's Tale quotes below are all either spoken by Paulina or refer to Paulina. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Winter's Tale published in 2005.
Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll show't the king and undertake to be
Her advocate to the loud'st. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o' the child:
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.

Related Characters: Paulina (speaker), Leontes, Hermione, Perdita
Page Number: 2.2.46-51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Mark and perform it, see'st thou! for the fail
Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,
Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place quite out
Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee
On thy soul's peril and thy body's torture
That thou commend it strangely to some place
Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.

Related Characters: Leontes (speaker), Paulina, Antigonus, Perdita
Page Number: 2.3.211-224
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

O, think what they have done
And then run mad indeed, stark mad! for all
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betray'dst Polixenes,'twas nothing;
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant
And damnable ingrateful: nor was't much,
Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour,
To have him kill a king: poor trespasses,
More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter
To be or none or little; though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire ere done't:
Nor is't directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts,
Thoughts high for one so tender, cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
Blemish'd his gracious dam: this is not, no,
Laid to thy answer: but the last, —O lords,
When I have said, cry 'woe!' the queen, the queen,
The sweet'st, dear'st creature's dead,
and vengeance for't
Not dropp'd down yet.

Related Characters: Paulina (speaker), Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Camillo, Mamillius, Perdita
Page Number: 3.2.201-222
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

LEONTES
But yet, Paulina,
Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
So aged as this seems.

POLIXENES
O, not by much!

PAULINA
So much the more our carver’s excellence,
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she lived now.

Related Characters: Leontes (speaker), Polixenes (speaker), Paulina (speaker), Hermione
Page Number: 5.3.31-37
Explanation and Analysis:

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Go together,
You precious winners all; your exultation
Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some wither'd bough and there
My mate, that's never to be found again,
Lament till I am lost.

Related Characters: Paulina (speaker), Antigonus
Page Number: 5.3.164-169
Explanation and Analysis:

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O, peace, Paulina!
Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
As I by thine a wife: this is a match,
And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;
But how, is to be question'd; for I saw her,
As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far—
For him, I partly know his mind —to find thee
An honourable husband. Come, Camillo
And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
Is richly noted and here justified
By us, a pair of kings.

Related Characters: Leontes (speaker), Hermione, Paulina, Camillo
Page Number: 5.3.170-182
Explanation and Analysis:

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Paulina Character Timeline in The Winter's Tale

The timeline below shows where the character Paulina appears in The Winter's Tale. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 2
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Paulina, a noblewoman and the wife of Antigonus, tries to visit Hermione in jail, but the... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Paulina laments Leontes’ madness in throwing his pregnant wife in jail. She asks Emilia if she... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
The jailer tells Paulina that he is not sure if he can allow the newborn child to leave the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...himself not to think of them, and to take his revenge out on Hermione instead. Paulina arrives with the newborn child. Antigonus and a servant try to prevent her from going... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Leontes hears Paulina talking and asks Antigonus if he cannot “rule her,” as he has ordered for no... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Leontes refers to his wife as a traitor, and Paulina says that the only traitor is the king himself, who slanders both his wife and... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Paulina calls Leontes a tyrant and he again demands that Antigonus take his wife away. Paulina... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...desert place,” where “chance may nurse or end it.” He threatens to kill Antigonus, and Paulina, if he does not do this. Reluctantly obeying his king, Antigonus carries the baby off... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Paulina re-enters and announces that Hermione has died. She berates Leontes, calling him a tyrant, and... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
A nobleman rebukes Paulina for speaking too boldly to the king, and Paulina says she has “show’d too much... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...causing Hermione’s death, and should now remarry. Leontes is not sure that he can, and Paulina agrees that it would be disrespectful to Hermione’s memory to do so. Dion tells the... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Leontes tells Paulina that he wishes he had taken her advice so long ago, so that Hermione would... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...The servant says that the princess is the most beautiful person he has ever seen. Paulina chides the servant for forgetting the beauty of Hermione and the servant apologizes but insists... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...pieces with a bear,” and his ship was wrecked in a storm. He says that Paulina was caught between joy and sorrow: “she had one eye declined for the loss of... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Leontes, Polixenes, Florizell, Perdita, Camillo, and Paulina all go together to see the statue of Hermione, which is at Paulina’s home. Paulina... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Leontes remarks that the statue appears slightly more wrinkled than Hermione was, and Paulina says that the skilled sculptor made the statue so that, sixteen years later, it “makes... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...realistic that it appears to breathe and to have real blood coursing through its veins. Paulina says that she should cover up the statue, because it is affecting Leontes so much,... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Paulina stops Leontes and tells everyone to prepare “for more amazement.” She says that she will... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Paulina tells everyone not to be afraid, as her spell is “lawful.” Hermione embraces Leontes, and... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Hermione asks where Perdita has been living, but Paulina tells her there will be time to learn everything later. She encourages everyone to enjoy... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Leontes tells Paulina not to be sad, and says that she should take a new husband. He suggests... (full context)